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Topic: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

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  1. #1

    GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    Forgive me if this post is a little long but helpful replies will be very important to me.

    The demos on the Garritan website and the submissions made at the forum are very impressive and obvioulsy created by people who are somewhat skilled in orchestral arrangement. I am quickly learning that choosing then arranging the instruments is an art in and of itself. (Like anything else - there is always more than meets the eye!) For an amateur like me there is potential to be overwhelmed, expecially for an original composition.

    I cannot believe some of the Demos were created in one afternoon!! Is that possible? How is this done? Is there more than one person involved with the production of the Demo?

    To those of you who have already submitted Demos on either the Garritan website or this forum please be so kind to share your techniques with amateurs like myself.

    1. What is you basic sequencer setup - # of tracks, (midi and audio), # of instances of GPO 8 instrument setup, reverb and any other effects you may be using. (I am using Sonar3)

    2. How do you arrange your instruments? I know this is a matter of experience but how do you know how many instrument sections or ensembles to add? I realize the trick is to make the piece sound as full as possible with the least amount of instruments and samples. Are you loading dry or wet instruments? Are you midi recording then once happy with a certain \'section\' bounce to audio track then move on to the next section, etc? Are you using effects like reverb for all instruments or do you conserve CPU energy for certain instrumenmt sections?

    3. Have you been using only GPO for the orchestral sounds? Anyone using GPS in the GPO demos? How are you implementing the GPO instrument articulations?

    Any bit of advice will be very much appreciated. Your demos are not only very well articulated but sound professionally mixed as well.

    Thank you for any help you can give.

    Happy Holidays!!
    Steve

  2. #2

    Re: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    Here we go. The blind leading the blind. Hopefully we will both get some more answers through this thread.
    I\'m new at this but I\'ll tell you what I do and what I think the pros are doing.

    1. What is you basic sequencer setup - # of tracks, (midi and audio), # of instances of GPO 8 instrument setup, reverb and any other effects you may be using. (I am using Sonar3)
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I have done 4 pieces with a sampled orchestra. Each have turned out similar in structure. About 6 instances of GPO mostly full. I create them by section. So the strings have a couple of instances, brass one or two, woods 1 (cause I don\'t know how to use them yet), percussion 1. I buss them all out to one reverb. I can see how sending some instruments out to separate effect busses might be useful for fattening a lead part. I\'m using the default pan always (but I\'m planning on looking at that closer in my next piece)

    2. How do you arrange your instruments? I know this is a matter of experience but how do you know how many instrument sections or ensembles to add? I realize the trick is to make the piece sound as full as possible with the least amount of instruments and samples. Are you loading dry or wet instruments? Are you midi recording then once happy with a certain \'section\' bounce to audio track then move on to the next section, etc? Are you using effects like reverb for all instruments or do you conserve CPU energy for certain instrumenmt sections?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I\'m doing it all by ear now. Except for getting myself out of a musical bind now and then. I put down one part then my brain fills in the other parts, as if I were listening to the piece. We\'ve all listened to orchestral pieces even if just at the movies so our subconscious has something to copy already. I\'m not bouncing. I have a Dual 2G G5 thankfully. If I had to bounce, I\'d have to be much more structured, I think.
    I use only dry. I think the wet instruments are superfluous. Once I\'ve set an instance of GPO I set the buss out to my room reverb. When I audition sounds, they are already wet, even though they are the dry versions.
    Bussing to one instance of reverb conserves CPU.

    3. Have you been using only GPO for the orchestral sounds? Anyone using GPS in the GPO demos? How are you implementing the GPO instrument articulations?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I only have a few other quality orchestral sounds. Free from various web sites. G-town, TimmyG(?) just a couple.
    But I refrained from putting them in anything yet because there was an infinitely small chance that Gary Garritan might use one on his demo page.
    As I created them they all sounded awesome. But they were mine and I was a bit (>>) egocentric. After comments and listening over and over and over, Each sounds like an amateur did them (and rightly so).
    But a Christmas miracle happened and Gary posted my \"Sleigh Ride.\"
    Another example of Gary\'s gracious attitude.

    Oh, yeah. What do I think the pros do. I have a feeling that the experienced composers know what works with samples and what doesn\'t. I think I hear bigger sweeping lines in the really good compositions. I think some of that might sell the piece. Experience also gets you to a place where you know how to get the articulation to sound right. And of course what works musically with an orchestra. I could see a composition in a half day with experience. Mine take a couple of days to three days. Cause I\'m drawing each instruments MOD curves and sustain pedal movements. Tons of detail. (which I could do without)

    But I have an orchestra in my computer now!

  3. #3
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    Re: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    I usually rely on templates which have been built up over time. Most pieces will use 25 tracks (Beethoven\'s 5th demo) to over 50 tracks (The Planets Demos). Yes I have done a couple of the demos in a day by myself - these are usually the shorter pieces with lighter instrumentation. I\'m just a hobbyist but have been working with sequencers for about 20 years. I usually use anywhere from 4-8 instances and used Ambience on many of the demos. I\'ve been using the Lexicon reverb that comes with Sonar 3 on my latest pieces as it uses much less CPU.

    I arrange my tracks just as in the scores. Woodwinds are at the top with the string parts at the bottom. I use a separate track for each of the string articulations with an average of about 15 string tracks. The only audio track is a final mixdown of all of the MIDI tracks using the bounce feature in Sonar. I\'ve been doing all parts in realtime without any bouncing down until the end. Only time I peaked out was doing Venus from the Planets as it has 2 harps doing arpeggios at the same time.

    All demos have just GPO except for some string harmonics from GOS used in Mercury (The Planets). I have been throwing in a few others instruments lately which have been mostly GOS strings (sordinos, slides) and the Dan Dean Flute.

    Haven\'t tried using the Global Positioning System (GPS) with GPO yet. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    Regarding being able to do a mock up in a matter of a few hours, I think there are two situations where that works: one is mocking up an existing composition, and the other one is when you\'re doing something more improvisationally. In both cases it\'s critical to have templates available, and at least some experience with your tools. Also, if you want to be fast, play in your notes live and get it right the first time. Well, maybe the second, but not the 20th.

    You can\'t be fast if you\'re clicking in notes one at a time. Or if you\'re solving an audio driver problem. Or trying to figure out how to use your sequencer. Or if you\'re composing intricate original counterpoint for many simultaneous voices.

    If you\'re sight reading music, jamming to a lead sheet, or playing music that\'s clear in your mind, that\'s fast.

    So, let\'s see... If you\'re doing a five minute piece with 20 patches, and each patch plays on average 50% of the time, 50 minutes would be the bare minimum. Figure two hours if you include load time, the occasional retake, various minor adjustments and recording time. That\'s the challenge!

    Hmmm. I really should start taking those piano lessons I\'ve been thinking about...

  5. #5

    Re: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    Just to followup on Haydn\'s comment.

    This is the worst GPS software I\'ve even seen. I\'m trying to find an elevation knob or something and all I see is this KEYBOARD come up on the screen.

    I mean, what is this, some kind of JOKE?

  6. #6

    Re: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    Regarding effective GPS, as I\'m moving the mod wheel forward, I slightly move from sitting position to slightly standing. By the time the mod wheel is in full forward thrust, I\'m on all fours. I mean all twos. Or maybe all tens would would be more correct.

    Give that a try and if that ain\'t working wrap an old antennae in some aluminum foil and stand next to the monitor with arms in a \'V\' shape (with the mod wheel in full forward thruster position).

    Regarding composing with GPO, I don\'t have it but if i did, I load every instrument I could and pound on the keys furiously for 10 minutes. Then I\'d go into the staff and start to erase random notes until it sounded good. And if I\'m doing a John Cage kind of piece, I\'d load all the instruments in and act like I\'m pounding the keys without actually pounding the keys (and make funny faces, too)...and I\'d do that for a few minutes at least!

    Anyway, those are all the secrets I\'m sharing.

    Oh, one last secret...do it all in an afternoon. It wows the cats on the forum.

  7. #7

    Re: GPO -- Orchestration and Reverb

    I\'m certainly no great keyboard player, but I often just play pianistically on my master keyboard into Sonar and create it like a piano piece.

    I then copy it in total to several subsequent tracks and begin eliminating notes outside a given instruments range until I have a part roughed out.

    I do this for each instrument, then go back and do a more broad elimination of notes for each part.

    You might say, I start with alot of excess and keep \'whitlin down\' until I get my basic composition, often adding notes as well to each part.

    I suspect though, that those people doing high quality demos in a couple hours are really seasoned pros who have an intimate knowledge of their chosen sequencing software and are terrific players as well, IMHO.

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